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The survey was not hospitality-specific but the results apply to our industry. What I am referring to is Nielsen’s recent online “Doing Well by Doing Good” poll of 30,000 consumers that sought to learn how passionate consumers are about sustainable practices when it comes to purchase considerations, which consumer segments are most supportive of ecological or other socially responsible efforts, and the social issues/causes that are attracting the most concern. According to the survey, more than half (55 percent) of global respondents said they are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact—an increase from 50 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2011. Regionally, respondents in Asia-Pacific (64 percent), Latin America (63 percent) and Middle East/Africa (63 percent) exceed the global average.
I often get requests for the latest list of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified hotel projects. Thanks to the folks at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), I now have the latest list. If you would like to see that list, just let me know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you. There are now 273 LEED certified hotel projects. Forty-four are marked in USGBC’s records as “private” so I can only slice and dice a list of 229. The majority of LEED certified hotels are in the United States—167, followed by 11 in China and nine in India. For those of you not familiar with the LEED rating system, there are four levels of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum. Of the 229, just 20 have reached the Platinum level. Forty-six properties have earned the Certified designation, 84 have earned LEED Gold, and 78 have earned LEED Silver. One property is still listed as having earned Bronze certification in 2000.
Since first writing about the use of reclaimed wood in hospitality projects a couple of years ago, I have noticed a lot more suppliers offering this type of wood in furniture and flooring. At last month’s HD Expo, for example, I learned about a company from my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio (Rustbelt Reclamation) that makes furniture from wood harvested from old buildings prior to their demolition. A quick search of my database of companies revealed almost 20 companies offering reclaimed wood products. In the coming week I will be revisiting reclaimed wood, chatting with suppliers, and writing a new article highlighting hospitality activity in this area. Be sure to watch for the article soon and contact me to let me know how you are using reclaimed wood at your property, or specifying it for projects. Of course there are many environmental reasons for using reclaimed wood.
I recently blogged twice about a new online Electric Vehicle (EV) Travel Guide put together by the Arizona Office of Tourism. The guide provides multiple suggested itineraries that combine statewide destinations with available charging locations and includes an Arizona state map, emergency contact information, weather averages, and elevation charts to help EV drivers plan their Arizona road-trip adventures. The guide also includes a list of hotels that make charging available to overnight guests. I blogged first about the guide because I was impressed by the fact that such a marketing tool was published. I blogged again about it because I heard from Jennifer Miller, the author of the Arizona Office of Tourism’s EV materials. She informed me that she included the Travel Guide in a white paper she completed as part of her graduate studies at Arizona State University. I highly recommend reading her white paper.
To what degree does how a country is governed, and how its people are treated, permeate the process you go through to decide where to build and from where to buy? I thought about that, as I have many times, this past week on the 25th anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square Massacre. On June 4, 1989, hundreds, possibly thousands died after gathering to voice their displeasure with corruption and their desire for freedoms that they lacked. Today the Chinese government is doing all it can to erase the memory of that event from its history—jailing those who talk about it and scrubbing the Internet of its traces. Has anything really changed in China? Since that historic day in 1989, China’s economy has boomed, the standard of living for most Chinese has improved (as the environment has suffered) and many in our industry have taken advantage of China’s growth—building hotels, resorts, and buying goods and services.
If you are looking to benchmark your property’s occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room against your chosen competitive set, there are trusted sources for that information. But let’s says you want to benchmark your property’s energy consumption or carbon emissions against a competitor or competitors, where do you go? Within your own company—Hilton, Marriott, IHG, Wyndham, etc.—that is quite possible because utility data is now collected consistently and in a standard format, but what about benchmarking against a hotel or hotels outside your company? Thanks to a collaboration between the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research (CHR), the Cornell University Center for Real Estate and Finance (CREF), Greenview, and nine hotel companies, the lodging industry now has the capability to benchmark energy and carbon emissions across companies.
The public relations team behind Starwood Capital Group’s eco-luxury 1 Hotels & Resorts is beginning to release new information about three 1 Hotels currently in development. The first two properties—in New York City’s Central Park and Miami Beach—are scheduled to open this fall. The third property will be located in Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., and will open next year. All of the 1 Hotels will be LEED certified and every hotel will feature a farm fresh restaurant consistent with the brand’s core environmental values. In 2006, Starwood Capital Group created SH Group, a hotel brand management company that owns the environmentally-focused 1 Hotels & Resorts brand. Long-time readers of Green Lodging News may recall seeing the first articles about 1 Hotels in 2007. At that time 1 Hotel projects were announced for Seattle, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Vancouver Island, B.C.
I spent about 16 hours on the trade show floor at HD Expo this past week. Unfortunately, because of cancellations and other airline issues, I spent more than 27 hours in airports and on planes getting to and from Hospitality Design’s annual event in Las Vegas. The good news is that the travel pains were well worth it as the hundreds of suppliers in attendance delivered not only a wide variety of green products but fascinating conversations as well. It would be impossible for me to mention all of the products I learned about in one column. There were certainly a lot one would expect to find at a design event—fabrics and carpet made from recycled or other eco-friendly fibers, for example. I saw many types of LED lighting. I did not see a single compact fluorescent on display. It is amazing how quickly lighting has changed. There was furniture made from reclaimed wood and recycled milk jugs.
April 20, 2010 was not a good day in our country’s history. We don’t think of “4-20” like we do “9-11” but it was the day of the gas release and subsequent explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven people died and oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. That day had a tremendous impact on Scott Miller. On the day of the accident he was working in finance at OppenheimerFunds in New York City. The oil rig disaster inspired him to leave his job and dedicate his life to green causes. Scott applied for and was accepted to the Masters in Sustainability program at Columbia University, where he recently graduated. It was last year, however, when things got really interesting for Scott. He applied for and was accepted into the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Fellows Program. Scott was matched with Las Vegas' Caesars Entertainment Corp. in early May 2013.
I am by no means a plastics historian but it is clear that 1990 was a big year—especially for the recycling of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), the type of plastic used in milk jugs, detergent bottles, and shampoo bottles. It was then that Doug Rassi and Mark Phillabaum, founders and owners of Poly-Wood, Inc., discovered they could extrude recycled milk jugs into plastic lumber. That lumber could then be used to design and build outdoor furniture. Also in 1990, Environmental Specialty Products began making outdoor furniture using recycled HDPE. So too did Fibrex Group. Poly-Wood, Environmental Specialty Products and Fibrex Group are just three of the companies I highlight in an article posted this past week on outdoor furniture that incorporates recycled plastic content. A total of 10 suppliers are mentioned.
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